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Bad EHR Workflow Played Role in Ebola Patient's Release

Brian Eastwood | Oct. 7, 2014
The first Ebola patient in the U.S. was initially discharged from the hospital when critical information entered in one part of the EHR system didn't appear in another. The incident is less an indictment of the hospital or its EHR vendor, though, and more of a commentary on the unfortunate state of EHR workflows.

A Texas Health spokesman told WFAA Dallas that travel history documentation now appears in both the nurse and physician workflows within the EHR. It's certainly the appropriate response to an unfortunate situation, and the hospital deserves credit for admitting its mistake.

However, the healthcare industry needs to see this not as a single, isolated occurrence but, rather, as the latest in a long line of incidents where poorly constructed EHR workflows hindered care instead of helping it.

Next month marks the 15-year anniversary of the Institute of Medicine's seminal To Err is Human report. It's time for the industry to take the report's message to heart.


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